Monday, 8 February 2010

Refreshing Change, or not?

We, or maybe I should just say, I, don't really do the whole Super Bowl thing here in Trinidad. American football is not my sport, and I really have no interest in making it my sport. However, I can appreciate the media hype around it as I know how sport can galvanise people, emotions, and experiences. Come June 11, the hype around the Super Bowl will be multiplied by 100 as the global football community prepares for the World Cup.

I have been rather interested though in the Pepsi saga. Pepsi made big news when they decided that they would not do the traditional mega million Super Bowl television ads this year but instead focus on Pepsi, Refresh, a $20million corporate social responsibility campaign using social media. I think that's it - a campaign using social media as opposed to a social media campaign cause most of that money is going towards "do-good" organisations and not really into the social media. Well, whatever one wants to call it, I applaud Pepsi. People were a bit skeptical that they would completely depart from what has become a huge deal in American pop culture, as we all remember the Britney Spears ad (well, that's the only one I remember anyway) etc.

But it's not as though Pepsi is building a brand new brand. We all know Pepsi. Geez...who does not know about Pepsi? Pepsi is almost ubiquitous, so did it really hurt them that much? I see greater value in this new thrust because a 30 second spot cannot bring the type of conversations Pepsi is for sure getting now. Sure, they will get convo - but how valuable is that conversation about Ms Brit shaking her bum to the brand, as opposed to talking to customers about the product, and more importantly getting them to talk about causes which are important to them, all while helping to add value to those organisations which need assistance - financial assistance and the publicity to raise awareness about the work they are doing.

The reach of the initiative, coupled with the frequency and depth of the engagement are surely wins for Pepsi. Some suggested that Pepsi could have made a 30 sec ad about the Pepsi Refresh campaign, but I think the publicity they generated when they decided against the ad this year was more than enough advertising. The success of the campaign would lie in how effectively they manage their social media communities, how well they manage those conversations and listen to what people are saying. From what I see so far, it seems to be working for them, and the celebrity interest is also a boon. They ahve already closed off ideas for February which is outstanding and have had the support, interest and participation of Saint Drew Brees, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Rihanna, to name a few as part of the programme's Celeb Challenge.

So along with the Saints, and New Orleans (kudos to the city, they needed a boost!), do you think Pepsi is a Super Bowl winner this year?

That ad was disturbing and maybe they should re-think doing these ads next year. I honestly and sincerely, not knowing anything about GoDaddy, thought it was a porn site and was confused as to why Danica what's her name was promoting it! But I guess it works for them!


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